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Offline Thom

Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« on: June 15, 2015, 04:09:40 PM »

To the mods: please allow this thread to stay here so it will be seen, at least until tomorrow. After that if you feel it would be more appropriate in random discussion or elsewhere feel free to move it.

This strikes to the heart of what we're trying to accomplish with this ecosystem. Most here will not find the perspective foreign, but for those that may this message is for you.

This is a short 16 minute review of the economic philosophy portrayed by Star Trek. It is concise and well articulated. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U0s4_e9y38
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 04:12:00 PM by Thom »

Offline onceuponatime

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 04:30:47 PM »
Thanks Tom.

A very good introduction to the problem as I see it too.

Offline lil_jay890

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 04:38:17 PM »
Very interesting Thom, a great watch.

Offline gamey

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 05:27:13 PM »

Meh. I have some libertarian leanings but I find any one simple system that encompasses the whole rule of society seems to have serious failings.

Lets take for example Feudalism.  How was this not Capitalism?  How was this so great? The Lords/Kings owned the property which likely their family earned, and the serfs worked for their wages. The idea that Capitalism is always some great thing always struck me as a huge simplification and goes back to why I can never agree with any system defined by one word. Where is my thinking wrong?

A lot of these NAP/ANCAP types seem to have all grown up in the privilege of a first world country with a large component of it being socialized. I look around at places with societies that I see as close as possible to anarchy and the situation is never anything I would prefer. My basic belief is one that government must be constantly fought because the only real incentive of most politicians is to make more laws. Either from fear pandering or being paid off. These are the things I choose to fight and argue against, not social/economic systems contained within one word.
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Offline onceuponatime

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 05:40:55 PM »

Lets take for example Feudalism.  How was this not Capitalism?  How was this so great? The Lords/Kings owned the property which likely their family earned, and the serfs worked for their wages.

That is not my understanding. I think that the Lords/Kings of feudalism gained their property through violence/conquest - not any type of free market process.

There are, however, prior examples of societies where the Kings ruled through consensus, and of tribal societies where the "headman" was more of an adviser than a ruler and had no actual power to compel.

Offline gamey

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 05:47:55 PM »

Lets take for example Feudalism.  How was this not Capitalism?  How was this so great? The Lords/Kings owned the property which likely their family earned, and the serfs worked for their wages.

That is not my understanding. I think that the Lords/Kings of feudalism gained their property through violence/conquest - not any type of free market process.

There are, however, prior examples of societies where the Kings ruled through consensus, and of tribal societies where the "headman" was more of an adviser than a ruler and had no actual power to compel.

And how did Americans (as in USA!)  receive their property !?!
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Offline Riverhead

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 07:37:51 PM »
And how did Americans (as in USA!)  receive their property !?!

 +5%

I only own my house because I can summon violence towards anyone that tries to take it from me. If I stop paying for that protection those very protectors will take it from me by force. So I don't really own it; I just lease the rights to use and can sell that right (deed) to someone else the ruling party deems a member of their/our system.

Anyway, Capitalism doesn't age well if left unchecked. It tends towards monopolies and wealth gaps. It works out very well for a few and horribly for most. Socialism isn't perfect by any stretch but no system is. A mixture of systems is the only thing at has ever worked.

The Army is a good example of socialism that more or less works. Soldiers get health care, food, housing, and a paycheck in return for their service.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:40:56 PM by Riverhead »
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Offline onceuponatime

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2015, 07:39:07 PM »

Lets take for example Feudalism.  How was this not Capitalism?  How was this so great? The Lords/Kings owned the property which likely their family earned, and the serfs worked for their wages.

That is not my understanding. I think that the Lords/Kings of feudalism gained their property through violence/conquest - not any type of free market process.

There are, however, prior examples of societies where the Kings ruled through consensus, and of tribal societies where the "headman" was more of an adviser than a ruler and had no actual power to compel.

And how did Americans (as in USA!)  receive their property !?!

That is a complicated question. For sure some property was stolen through violence, some was stolen through fraud, and some was earned through free market transactions or through the labor applied to unclaimed resources or through trade and commerce. And I am sure there are many other cases as well.

The wheat and the tares have grown up together and are now a tangled mess.

Offline Ben Mason

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 07:51:00 PM »
Very interesting, thanks thom.

I wonder what you'd call a society that was voluntary, peaceful and resistant to systemic corruption, where individuals acquire wealth though merit? Blockchainist? Sorry Gamey, I know. One word definitely doesn't do it!

If everyone can keep the fruits of their labour and willingly reinvesting their excess into society...even if only to make a further profit, that's all good because innovation will explode as capital will be being put to good use instead of being destroyed. It's advanced technology that is the answer (combined with a corruption resistance system) because technology deals with scarcity.

Added
Who knows, if we get far enough along that road, perhaps we cease being human. I'm up for the adventure though! It'll be better than this endless psychopathic merrigoround.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:54:15 PM by Ben Mason »

Offline Thom

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2015, 09:19:23 PM »
I'm actually quite surprised by many of the comments.

I thought the piece was spot on, in particular regarding the Borg being a perfect socialistic society, but at the cost of individual freedom. It couldn't work unless they had victims to exploit for their resources. Kindof like the USA now.

Saying the military strikes a good balance strikes me as Borg like. You have almost no freedom in the military and it is very dangerous to longevity. It too can only survive as a "society" by being parasitical on others.

As for using "one word" to encapsulate or label "the best" form of society I somewhat agree, but that is the nature of labels, they don't fit every situation and thus new ones are created. Labels are just symbols. I wouldn't get too hung up on them. Focus on the principles, that's what's important, that's what drives behavior. What you believe at the core of your being will manifest in your actions. Trouble is, most people aren't in touch with the core of their being, they just execute the programming that's been implanted in their subconscious, either overtly or covertly, some intentional some not.

Bottom line: I don't want to live in a society that doesn't encourage my individualistic creativity or forces me to do things. We can accomplish so much more through voluntary cooperation than manipulation and force.

Offline Riverhead

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 09:49:59 PM »

Countries that have the best quality of life have a mix of both. Privatization where it makes sense and socialization where it makes sense. Germany, France, Japan, Denmark, Canada, etc. For example health care, education, and pharma as for-profit institutions are in conflict of interest (i.e. treatments are more profitable than cures). Places where it makes sense are consumer goods and non utility services.

Not as cut and dry as that but any system that tries to apply one philosophy to all things is doomed. You either end up with North Korea or where the USA is headed. How many ISPs do we have now? Two? How's that working out?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 09:52:43 PM by Riverhead »
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Offline merivercap

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2015, 11:43:06 PM »
And how did Americans (as in USA!)  receive their property !?!

 +5%

I only own my house because I can summon violence towards anyone that tries to take it from me. If I stop paying for that protection those very protectors will take it from me by force. So I don't really own it; I just lease the rights to use and can sell that right (deed) to someone else the ruling party deems a member of their/our system.

Anyway, Capitalism doesn't age well if left unchecked. It tends towards monopolies and wealth gaps. It works out very well for a few and horribly for most. Socialism isn't perfect by any stretch but no system is. A mixture of systems is the only thing at has ever worked.

The Army is a good example of socialism that more or less works. Soldiers get health care, food, housing, and a paycheck in return for their service.

A free-standing army is one of the biggest threats to freedom and Madison and George Washington warned of its dangers.  America's main form of defense was supposed to be militias: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_12s6.html

Theoretically there could have been immigration to America without as much conflict because some of the early American settlers did not have the same concept of state-sanctioned property and generally lived in anarchy like the colonies in Rhode Island.   Many early settlers purchased land from the Indians in those areas and elsewhere.  Probably a lot of the land granted to early settlers from the English Crown was enforced by violence.  Not sure all American Indian tribes had the same standard concept of property as the early settlers.  Some tribes may have had a broader sense of land ownership.  Some tribes may have had views in line with anarchists, non-propertarian & some propertarian libertarians depending on how you define 'property'.  In cases of conflict it was either money or violence that solved the dispute. 

The famous anarchist Proudhon wrote 'property is theft' when describing state-sanctioned property.  Proudhon followed up with the phrase 'property is freedom' when describing property from a natural rights perspective.  It's interesting Proudhon was anti-Marxist and many left-Anarchists today who have strong Marxist tendencies use Proudhon's first quote out of context.    In any case many libertarians probably favor contract-regulated property rights or common-law/natural law property rights compared to government-sanctioned property rights.

Interesting to think about, but in any case all this discussion should really be in Random. 
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Offline Ander

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 12:06:56 AM »
As is often the case in debates, the two sides of the debate dont have the same understanding of the term they are debating, in this case, 'Capitalism'.  Also 'Socialism'.


When the pro capitalism people hear 'capitalism', they think of a system of contract law that protects the privacy and rights of everyone in society.

When the anti-capitalism people hear 'capitalism', they think of a society that is in a state of greatly unequal distribution of wealth, in which a small percentage of the people own most of the capital.


Most people would probably be able to agree on things if they would taboo their terminology and the connotations they have built up around it, and discuss things in other terms.


For example, most people would probably agree that a system of contract law which protects the rights of everyone in society is good. 

Most people would probably agree that having a more equal distribution of wealth and power than we find in our current society would be a good goal to aim for, provided that we can do it in a way that doesnt hurt one section of the populace to help the other, or result in a failed economy.


When people hear socialism, some people think of 'achieving better income equality' or 'taking care of people in need', while others hear 'stealing from people who produce things'.  And so on.


My problem with marxist ideas is not that their values are wrong (indeed, it would be great if distribution of economic power was more equal, all else staying the same, because this would improve average life quality).  The problem is that they don't really contain any solutions to the difficult organizational problem of 'how should the economy run'.  They seem to think that all you have to do is tear down the capitalist system, and then everything will magically become awesome and everyone will be happy.  Sadly, that isnt the result that you will get, as evidenced by every time it has been empirically tested in reality.


Personally I like the idea of basic income systems, but rather than is the case in some systems where taxation is used to fund payments to everyone, I wish that society itself would own some portion of the capital (shares in index funds), and dividends from this capital ownership would be given equally to everyone, each citizen having 1 share.  In my idea, the initial society capital fund could be gradually grown over time through donations and estate taxes.  I would imagine that many rich capital owners would gladly donate to such an endeavor, and would greatly prefer this route to the current taxation system.
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Offline gamey

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Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 06:09:10 PM »
I think both sides do understand what it is they are debating they just frame it different according to their own biases.

I really like the idea of ANCAP but when I start to think about it I come across so many places where I believe it would fail. I think basic Western style government is probably the best. The problem is that laws keep being created. So many ANCAP people seem to be totally biased by their hatred of government. It makes a lot of the thinking I see not so logical and ignoring of certain issues.

I also like a level of socialized medicine because I fail to see how a 100% privately run healthcare that is all voluntary can work well when it comes to communicable diseases.
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Offline Riverhead

Re: Economic Philosophy i.e. Why Socialism is Bad
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 06:14:27 PM »
A free-standing army is one of the biggest threats to freedom and Madison and George Washington warned of its dangers.  America's main form of defense was supposed to be militias: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_12s6.html

Agreed. It is absurd how much the US spends on "defense" and embarrassing when contrasted to what's spent on infrastructure.
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